PORTLAND — A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Portland activist who took the city to court after being removed from several City Council meetings over the years.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon ruled Thursday that Portland Mayor Charlie Hales violated the activist’s First Amendment rights by barring him from meetings for months at a time, The Oregonian reported.

Simon ordered the city to halt all prospective exclusions against the activist, 73-year-old Joe Walsh. He wrote in a 28-page ruling that Hales has the authority to maintain decorum, but not to order prolonged exclusions from a forum intended for public discourse.

The city maintained that Walsh was thrown out for being disruptive, and not for any view or opinion he expressed.

The mayor’s spokeswoman, Sara Hottman, declined to comment Thursday.

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